LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — With more than five million Americans diagnosed with the disease, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Hundreds of people gathered at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Saturday morning for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“You look around and there’s a lot of people here in their teens, and their 20s and their 30s. So you can see that this is a multi-generational disease where it affects everybody not just the person who was diagnosed, but their families, their friends, their loved ones as well,” participant Tyler Dubea said.
Walkers had the option to choose between a 1-mile course or a 3-mile course.
“To see everyone come out, and celebrate their family members and honor those who have passed away, it becomes very emotional for everyone here. And it’s always impressive to see everyone come together,” said Debra Smith, Alzheimer’s Association developmental specialist.
Beth Forsythe is part of a group called Jack’s House, in honor of her father who passed away from Alzheimer’s 10 years ago.
The fundraising goal for this year’s event is $105,000. Forsythe’s group raised $20,000.
“Just thankful to everybody who donates for Alzheimer’s,” Forsythe said. “There’s no survivors, and there’s nothing to help this disease stop. So we just need to find something, a cure, or medicine, something to help us slow it down.”
Paul Lofland came out to support his wife, who is currently battling dementia. His mother passed away from the disorder in 2007.
He went as far as dying his beard purple in hopes of boosting his fundraising efforts.
“I decided to do a fundraiser this year. So I had one of the Alzheimer’s unit at Mulberry decorate a box for me and put a picture of my wife and I on it and set it around and took it to church,” Lofland said.
It paid off.
“Ended up getting $350, so it was awesome,” said Lofland.
Dubea’s mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at just 48 years old. After the diagnosis, Team Karen was formed.
Bubea said Saturday’s walk is just one of many where the team has participated.
“A lot of times this disease is very lonely. Seeing, you know, thousands of people all coming out supporting the same cause as what we are – to see how many people are affected by this, it really makes you feel like you’re not alone,” Dubea said.
It gives him peace of mind knowing he and his family aren’t in this battle alone.
“We’re gonna be around until a cure is found,” said Dubea.